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[peen-l-ahyz, pen-] /ˈpin lˌaɪz, ˈpɛn-/
verb (used with object), penalized, penalizing.
to subject to a penalty, as a person.
to declare (an action, deed, etc.) punishable by law or rule.
to put under a disadvantage or handicap.
Also, especially British, penalise.
Origin of penalize
First recorded in 1865-70; penal + -ize
Related forms
penalizable, adjective
penalization, noun
nonpenalized, adjective
overpenalization, noun
overpenalize, verb (used with object), overpenalized, overpenalizing.
repenalize, verb (used with object), repenalized, repenalizing.
unpenalized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for penalise
Historical Examples
  • You know, of course, that the intention of our law is ever to penalise the wrong-doer.

    Another Sheaf John Galsworthy
  • He tried some curious devices to penalise himself for laziness.

    William Hickling Prescott Harry Thurston Peck
  • Special care should be taken that taxation is so adjusted as not to penalise parenthood in the socially valuable middle class.

    Outspoken Essays William Ralph Inge
  • When prevention has been properly taught, then it is fair to penalise those who wilfully neglect to take precautions.

    Safe Marriage Ettie A. Rout
  • Moulders do not admit women, and penalise members who give instruction to female workers in any branch.

    Women in Modern Industry

    B. L. Hutchins
  • But in fact, to penalise rebellion in some sort was an absolute necessity; not to have done so would have jeopardised the throne.

    Ten Tudor Statesmen Arthur D. Innes
  • You will never find expert players, who appreciate what I may call the geometry of the court, penalise themselves in this manner.

    Lawn Tennis for Ladies Mrs. Lambert Chambers
British Dictionary definitions for penalise


verb (transitive)
to impose a penalty on (someone), as for breaking a law or rule
to inflict a handicap or disadvantage on
(sport) to award a free stroke, point, or penalty against (a player or team)
to declare (an act) legally punishable; make subject to a penalty
Derived Forms
penalization, penalisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for penalise

chiefly British English spelling of penalize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Penalised; penalising.



1868, from penal + -ize. Related: Penalized; penalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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